Moorish windows were mirrored in the murky water

Thomas Mann – Death in Venice

There’s nothing quite like it.  People think of Istanbul/Constantinople/Byzantium as the point where East met West, or perhaps the Moors who invaded Spain provided a melting pot between Arab and European cultures, yet Venice should not be overlooked.  The domes of St Marks are crowned like minarets, and the iconography within is very different to that found elsewhere within Italian cathedrals.  In the same way that Britain’s navy brought home the influences of empire, so did that of the Venetian Republic and in architecture it produced a blend that is unique.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at the 15th Century Palazzo Santa Sofia, better known as Ca’ d’Oro (House of Gold) because of the multicoloured and gilded decorations to the exterior.  These have now gone, but the detail and the different hues of marble are quite exquisite.  Sadly its interior was ripped apart in the 19th Century but thankfully the facade remains.




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